After you have successfully hung all of the drywall in a given room, drywall taping and mud are then applied in order to conceal every single joint and corner. This is known as drywall finishing, and it's arguably more important that it's done well so nothing shows once the walls are painted. There are several different types of drywall mud to use, but what does not change are the number of layers required to finish the walls. Three layers of drywall compound or mud are necessary. The first layer adheres the tape over the joints. The second layer conceals the tape and fans out the mud to help smooth the seam. The final layer fans it out even further, and ideally reduces the texture to almost nothing.
Drywall finishing is a highly specialized trade that professionals can do quickly. For the average do-it-yourselfer, it's a bit more slow going. Consider these hints as you begin the process of drywall finishing:
Use All-Purpose Sheetrock Brand Compound
All purpose compound is a single type of mud that can be used for all 3 layers of mud. The alternative is to apply 2 layers of taping compound and one layer of topping compound. The combination method may create a better bond, but the all purpose compound is easy to work with and will do the job to your satisfaction. By many accounts, Sheetrock brand all purpose compound is a superior product. It's ready to use right out of the box and is not too thick to apply.
Have 3 Different Drywall Knives
The first layer, you should use a drywall knife that is about 4 inches wide. It's good to adhere the tape to the mud and smooth out roughly. The second layer requires a wider knife so the mud will spread farther out on both sides of the tape. A third knife, up to 10 inches wide, should be used for the third and final layer. It will spread the mud out even more, reducing any rise caused by the tape and mud, which can add uneven thickness to a wall.
Remove Excess Mud with Each Pass
After you apply the first layer of mud and stick the tape to it, run the knife lengthwise over the tape. This not only presses it firmly to the mud, but it also squeezes out the excess mud on either side of the tape, making it easier to scrape off. Always remove the excess mud and smooth it out.
Pre-Fold the Tape for Corners
If you pre-fold the drywall tape down the middle before you stick it to the mud, you will have a much easier time adhering it evenly along a corner joint.
Drywall finishing can be a somewhat delicate job. If you have some basic knowledge and a few tricks up your sleeve, you'll get it down the first time and not make too many mistakes, ensuring a seamless finish job.